EP0722490B2 - Amylase variants - Google Patents

Amylase variants Download PDF

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Publication number
EP0722490B2
EP0722490B2 EP19940928775 EP94928775A EP0722490B2 EP 0722490 B2 EP0722490 B2 EP 0722490B2 EP 19940928775 EP19940928775 EP 19940928775 EP 94928775 A EP94928775 A EP 94928775A EP 0722490 B2 EP0722490 B2 EP 0722490B2
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Prior art keywords
amylase
α
amino acid
variant
enzyme
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EP19940928775
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German (de)
French (fr)
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EP0722490B1 (en
EP0722490A1 (en
Inventor
Henrik Bisgard-Frantzen
Torben Vedel Borchert
Allan Svendsen
Marianne Thellersen
Pia Van Der Zee
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Novozymes AS
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Novozymes AS
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Priority to DK1133/93 priority Critical
Priority to DK113393A priority patent/DK113393D0/da
Priority to DK140/94 priority
Priority to DK14094 priority
Priority to PCT/DK1994/000370 priority patent/WO1995010603A1/en
Priority claimed from EP06110210A external-priority patent/EP1707624A3/en
Application filed by Novozymes AS filed Critical Novozymes AS
Publication of EP0722490A1 publication Critical patent/EP0722490A1/en
Priority to US08/720,899 priority patent/US5753460A/en
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    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C12BIOCHEMISTRY; BEER; SPIRITS; WINE; VINEGAR; MICROBIOLOGY; ENZYMOLOGY; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING
    • C12NMICROORGANISMS OR ENZYMES; COMPOSITIONS THEREOF; PROPAGATING, PRESERVING OR MAINTAINING MICROORGANISMS; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING; CULTURE MEDIA
    • C12N9/00Enzymes; Proenzymes; Compositions thereof; Processes for preparing, activating, inhibiting, separating or purifying enzymes
    • C12N9/14Hydrolases (3)
    • C12N9/24Hydrolases (3) acting on glycosyl compounds (3.2)
    • C12N9/2402Hydrolases (3) acting on glycosyl compounds (3.2) hydrolysing O- and S- glycosyl compounds (3.2.1)
    • C12N9/2405Glucanases
    • C12N9/2408Glucanases acting on alpha -1,4-glucosidic bonds
    • C12N9/2411Amylases
    • C12N9/2414Alpha-amylase (3.2.1.1.)
    • C12N9/2417Alpha-amylase (3.2.1.1.) from microbiological source
    • CCHEMISTRY; METALLURGY
    • C11ANIMAL AND VEGETABLE OILS, FATS, FATTY SUBSTANCES AND WAXES; FATTY ACIDS THEREFROM; DETERGENTS; CANDLES
    • C11DDETERGENT COMPOSITIONS; USE OF SINGLE SUBSTANCES AS DETERGENTS; SOAP OR SOAP-MAKING; RESIN SOAPS; RECOVERY OF GLYCEROL
    • C11D3/00Other compounding ingredients of detergent compositions covered in group C11D1/00
    • C11D3/16Organic compounds
    • C11D3/38Products with no well-defined composition, e.g. natural products
    • C11D3/386Preparations containing enzymes, e.g. protease, amylase
    • DTEXTILES; PAPER
    • D06TREATMENT OF TEXTILES OR THE LIKE; LAUNDERING; FLEXIBLE MATERIALS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • D06LDRY-CLEANING, WASHING OR BLEACHING FIBRES, FILAMENTS, THREADS, YARNS, FABRICS, FEATHERS OR MADE-UP FIBROUS GOODS; BLEACHING LEATHER OR FURS
    • D06L1/00Dry-cleaning or washing fibres, filaments, threads, yarns, fabrics, feathers or made-up fibrous goods
    • D06L1/12Dry-cleaning or washing fibres, filaments, threads, yarns, fabrics, feathers or made-up fibrous goods using aqueous solvents
    • D06L1/14De-sizing

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to amylase variants having an improved washing and/or dishwashing performance, to DNA constructs encoding the variants, and to vectors and cells harbouring the DNA constructs. Furthermore, the invention relates to a method of producing the amylase variants and to detergent additives and detergent compositions comprising the amylase variants. Finally, the invention relates to the use of the amylase variants for textile desizing.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • For a number of years α-amylase enzymes have been used for a variety of different purposes, the most important of which are starch liquefaction, textile desizing, starch modification in the paper and pulp industry, and for brewing and baking. A further use of α-amylase, which is becoming increasingly important, is the removal of starchy stains during washing or dishwashing.
  • In recent years attempts have been made to construct α-amylase variants having Improved properties with respect to specific uses such as starch liquefaction and textile desizing.
  • For instance. US 5,093,257 discloses chimeric α-amylases comprising an N-terminal part of a B. stearothermophilus α-amylase and a C-terminal part of a B. licheniformis α-amylase The chimeric α-amylases are stated to have unique properties, such as a different thermostability, as compared to their parent α-amylase. However, all of the specifically described chimeric α-amylases were shown to have a decreased enzymatic activity as compared to their parent α-amylases.
  • EP 252 666 describes hybrid amylases of the general formula Q-R-L. in which Q is a N-terminal polypeptide residue of from 55 to 60 amino acid residues which is at least 75% homologous to the 57 N-terminal amino acid residues of a specified α-amylase from B. amyloliquefaciens, R is a specified polypeptide, and L is a C-terminal polypeptide comprising from 390 to 400 amino acid residues which is at least 75% homologous to the 395 C-terminal amino acid residues of a specified B. licheniformis α-amylase.
  • Suzuki et al. (1989) disclose chimeric α-amylases, in which specified regions of a B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase have been substituted for the corresponding regions of a B. licheniformis α-amylase. The chimeric α-amylases were constructed with the purpose of identifying regions responsible for thermostability. Such regions were found to include amino acid residues 177-186 and amino acid residues 255-270 of the B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase. The alterations of amino acid residues in the chimeric α-amylases did not seem to affect properties of the enzymes other than their thermostability.
  • WO 91/00353 discloses α-amylase mutants which differ from their parent α-amylase in at least one amino acid residue. The α-amylase mutants disclosed in said patent application are stated to exhibit improved properties for application in the degradation of starch and/or textile desizing due to their amino acid substitutions. Some of the mutants exhibit improved stability, but no improvements in enzymatic activity were reported or indicated. The only mutants exemplified are prepared from a parent B. licheniformis α-amylase and carry one of the following mutations: H133Y or H133Y + T149l. Another suggested mutation is A111T.
  • FR 2,676,456 discloses mutants of the B. licheniformis α-amylase, in which an amino acid residue in the proximity of His 133 and/or an amino acid residue in the proximity of Ala 209 have been replaced by a more hydrophobic amino acid residue. The resulting α-amylase mutants are stated to have an improved thermostability and to be useful in the textile, paper, brewing and starch liquefaction industry.
  • EP 285 123 discloses a method of performing random mutagenesis of a nucleotide sequence. As an example of such sequence a nucleotide sequence encoding a B. stearothermophilus α-amylase is mentioned. When mutated, an α-amylase variant having improved activity at low pH values is obtained.
  • In none of the above references is it mentioned or even suggested that α-amylase mutants may be constructed which have improved properties with respect to the detergent industry.
  • EP 525 610 relates to mutant enzymes having an improved stability towards ionic tensides. The mutant enzymes have been produced by replacing an amino acid residue in the surface part of the parent enzyme with another amino acid residue. The only mutant enzyme specifically described in EP 525 610 is a protease. Amylase is mentioned as an example of an enzyme which may obtain an improved stability towards ionic tensides, but the type of amylase, its origin or specific mutations have not been specified.
  • WO 94/02597 which was unpublished at the priority dates of the present invention, discloses novel α-amylase mutants which exhibit an improved stability and activity in the presence of oxidizing agents. In the mutant α-amylases, one or more methionine residues have been replaced with amino acid residues different from Cys and Met. The α-amylase mutants are stated to be useful as detergent and/or dishwashing additives as well as for textile desizing.
  • WO 94/18314 (published only after the priority dates of the present invention) discloses oxidatively stable α-amylase mutants, including mutations in the M197 position of B. licheniformis α-amylase.
  • EP 368 341 describes the use of pullulanase and other amylolytic enzymes optionally in combination with an α-amylase for washing and dishwashing.
  • The object of the present invention is to provide α-amylase variants which exert an improved washing and/or dishwashing performance compared to their parent α-amylase. Such variant α-amylases have the advantage that they may be employed in a lower dosage than their parent α-amylase. Furthermore, the α-amylase variants may be able to remove starchy stains which cannot or can only with difficulty be removed by α-amylase detergent enzymes known today.
  • BRIEF DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
  • The present inventors have surprisingly found that it is possible to improve the washing and/or dishwashing performance of α-amylases by modifying one or more amino acid residues thereof. The present invention is based on this finding.
  • Accordingly, in a first aspect the present invention relates to a variant according to claim 1.
  • In the present context the term "performance" as used in connection with washing and dishwashing is intended to mean an improved removal of starchy stains, i.e. stains containing starch, during washing or dishwashing, respectively. The performance may be determined in conventional washing and dishwashing experiments and the improvement evaluated as a comparison with the performance of the parent unmodified α-amylase. Examples of suitable washing and dishwashing tests are given in the Materials and Methods section and in the examples below. In the context of the variant of Claim 1, improved ability to remove starchy stains compared to the B-licheniformis α-amylase (SEQ ID NO. 2) is determined according to the method of the mini dishwashing assay described in the materials and methods section below. It will be understood that a variety of different characteristics of the α-amylase variant, including specific activity, substrate specificity, Km, Vmax, pl, pH optimum, temperature optimum, thermoactivatlon, stability towards detergents, etc. taken alone or in combination are involved in providing the improved performance. The stated person will be aware that the performance of the variant cannot, alone, be predicted on the basis of the above characteristics, but would have to be accompanied by washing and/or dishwashing performance tests.
  • In the present context the term "variant" is used interchangeably with the term "mutant".
  • In further aspects the invention relates to a DNA construct comprising a DNA sequence encoding an α-amylase variant of the invention, a recombinant expression vector carrying the DNA construct, a cell which is transformed with the DNA construct or the vector, as well as a method of producing the α-amylase variant by culturing said cell under conditions conducive to the production of the α-amylase variant, after which the α-amylase variant is recovered from the culture.
  • In final aspects the invention relates to the use of an α-amylase variant of the invention as a detergent enzyme, in particular for washing or dishwashing, to a detergent additive and a detergent composition comprising the α-amylase variant, and to the use of an α-amylase variant of the invention for textile desizing.
  • DETAILED DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION Nomenclature
  • In the present description and claims, the conventional one-letter and three-letter codes for amino acid residues are used. For ease of reference, α-amylase variants of the invention are described by use of the following nomenclature: Original amino acid(s):position(s):substituted amino acid(s)
  • According to this nomenclature, for instance the substitution of alanine for asparagine in position 30 is shown as:
    Ala 30 Asn   or   A30N
    a deletion of alanine in the same position is shown as:
    Ala 30 *   or   A30*
    and insertion of an additional amino acid residue, such as lysine, is shown as:
    Ala 30 AlaLys   or   A30AK
  • A deletion of a consecutive stretch of amino acid residues, such as amino acid residues 30-33, is indicated as (30-33)*
  • Where a specific α-amylase contains a "deletion" in comparison with other α-amylases and an insertion is made in such a position this is indicated as:
    * 36 Asp   or   *36D
    for insertion of an aspartic acid in position 36
  • Multiple mutations are separated by plus signs, i.e.:
    Ala 30 Asp + Glu 34 Ser   or   A30N+E34S
    representing mutations in positions 30 and 34 substituting alanine and glutamic acid for asparagine and serine, respectively.
  • When one or more alternative amino acid residues may be inserted in a given position it is indicated as
    A30N,E or
    A30N or A30E
  • Furthermore, when a position suitable for modification is identified herein without any specific modification being suggested, it is to be understood that any amino acid residue may be substituted for the amino acid residue present in the position. Thus, for instance, when a modification of an alanine in position 30 is mentioned, but not specified, it is to be understood that the alanine may be deleted or substituted for any other amino acid, i.e. any one of
    R,N,D,A,C,Q,E,G,H,I,L,K,M,F,P,S,T,W,Y,V
  • The parent α-amylases and variants thereof
  • The α-amylase variant of the invention is prepared on the basis of a parent having a degree of sequence identity of greater than 70 % with SEQ ID NO. 2, and the parent may be α-amylase of microbial origin. Thus, the parent α-amylase may be of bacterial origin or may be derived from a fungus including a filamentous fungus or a yeast. The parent α-amylase may be one conventionally used as a detergent enzyme, or one for which such use has never been suggested.
  • Of particular interest is a parent α-amylase which is derived from a strain of a gram-positive bacterium, such as a strain of Bacillus. Bacillus α-amylases have, in general, been found to have desirable properties with respect to detergent use.
  • More specifically, the parent bacterial α-amylase may be selected from an α-amylase derived from a strain of B. licheniformis, or an α-amylase derived from a strain of B. amyloliquefaciens. In the present context, "derived from" is intended not only to indicate an α-amylase produced or producible by a strain of the organism in question, but also an α-amylase encoded by a DNA sequence isolated from such strain and produced in a host organism transformed with said DNA sequence. Finally, the term is intended to indicate an α-amylase which is encoded by a DNA sequence of synthetic and/or cDNA origin and which has the identifying characteristics of the α-amylase in question.
  • It has been found that a number of α-amylases produced by Bacillus spp. are highly homologous on the amino acid level. For instance, the B. licheniformis α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2 has been found to be about 89% homologous with the B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 4 and about 79% homologous with the B. stearothermophilus α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 6.
  • However, other properties of these enzymes are considerably different. Thus, in general the above mentioned B. licheniformis α-amylase has been found to have a high pH optimum, a different specificity compared to other Bacillius α-amylases and a low Km which usually is indicative of an excellent substrate binding, whereas the B. amyloliquefaciens and the B. stearothermophilus α-amylase have a high specific activity and a different starch degradation pattern compared to that of the B. licheniformis α-amylase. The B. stearothermophilus α-amylase exerts a better washing and/or dishwashing performance than the B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase, but not a performance comparable to the very satisfactory performance of the B. licheniformis α-amylase.
  • It has surprisingly been found that the washing and/or dishwashing performance of the satisfactorily performing B. licheniformis α-amylase may be further and considerably improved by modifying certain amino acid residues or regions in the amino acid sequence of the α-amylase so as to correspond to a homologous amino acid region in one of the other, more poorly performing Bacillus α-amylases mentioned above.
  • It has surprisingly been found possible to use the high degree of amino acid sequence homology observed between the α-amylases produced by the Bacillus spp. B. licheniformis, B. amyloliquefaciens and B. stearothermophilus to prepare α-amylase variants having improved washing and/or dishwashing performance. More, specifically the variants are prepared on the basis of modification of one or more specific amino acid residues to one or more amino acid residues present in a corresponding or homologous position of the other homologous α-amylases.
  • For ease of reference, an alignment of the amino acid sequences shown in SEQ ID Nos. 2, 4 and 6, respectively, is shown below. The amino acid numbering of each of the α-amylase sequences is also given. From this alignment homologous positions (and thus homologous amino acid residues) in the sequences may easily be identified.
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 AAPFNGTMMQYFEWYLPDDGTLWTKVANEANNLSSLGITA 40
    SEQ ID 4 ---VNGTLMQYFEWYTPNDGQHWKRLQNDAEHLSDIGITA 37
    SEQ ID 2 -ANLNGTLMQYFEWYMPNDGQHWRRLQNDSAYLAEHGITA 39
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 LWLPPAYKGTSRSDVGYGVYDLYDLGEFNQKGTVRTKYGT 80
    SEQ ID 4 VWIPPAYKGLSQSDNGYGPYDLYDLGEFQQKGTVRTKYGT 77
    SEQ ID 2 VWIPPAYKGTSQADVGYGAYDLYDLGEFHQKGTVRTKYGT 79
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 KAQYLQAIQAAHAAGMQVYADVVFDHKGGADGTEWVDAVE 120
    SEQ ID 4 KSELQDAIGSLHSRNVQVYGDVVLNHKAGADATEDVTAVE 117
    SEQ ID 2 KGELQSAIKSLHSRDINVYGDVVINHKGGADATEDVTAVE 119
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 VNPSDRNQEISGTYQIQAWTKFDFPGRGNTYSSFKWRWYH 160
    SEQ ID 4 VNPANRNQETSEEYQIKAWTDFRFPGRGNTYSDFKWHWYH 157
    SEQ ID 2 VDPADRNRVISGEHLIKAWTHFHFPGRGSTYSDFKWHWYH 159
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 FDGVDWDESRKLSRIYKFRGIGKAWDWEVDTENGNYDYLM 200
    SEQ ID 4 FDGADWDESRKISRIFKFRGEGKAWDWEVSSENGNYDYLM 197
    SEQ ID 2 FDGTDWDESRKLNRIYKFQ--GKAWDWEVSNENGNYDYLM 197
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 YADLDMDHPEVVTELKNWGKWYVNTTNIDGFRLDAVKHIK 240
    SEQ ID 4 YADVDYDHPDVVAETKKWGIWYANELSLDGFRIDAAKHIK 237
    SEQ ID 2 YADIDYDHPKVAAEIKRWGTWYANELQLDGFRLDAVKHIK 237
    SEQ ID 6 FSFFPDWLSYVRSQTGKPLFTVGEYWSYDINKLHNYITKT 280
    SEQ ID 4 FSFLRDWVQAVRQATGKEMFTVAEYWQNNAGKLENYLNKT 277
    SEQ ID 2 FSFLRDWVNHVREKTGKEMFTVAEYWQNDLGALENYLNKT 277
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 DGTMSLFDAPLHNKFYTASKSGGAFDMRTLMTNTLMKDQP 320
    SEQ ID 4 SFNQSVFDVPLHFNLQAASSQGGGYDMRRLLDGTVVSRHP 317
    SEQ ID 2 NFNHSVFDVPLHYQFHAASTQGGGYDMRKLLNGTVVSKHP 317
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 TLAVTFVDNHDTEPGQALQSWVDPWFKPLAYAFILTRQEG 360
    SEQ ID 4 EKAVTFVENHDTQPGQSLESTVQTWFKPLAYAFILTRESG 357
    SEQ ID 2 LKSVTFVDNHDTQPGQSLESTVQTWFKPLAYAFILTRESG 357
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 YPCVFYGDYYGI---PQYNIPSLKSKIDPLLIARRDYAYG 397
    SEQ ID 4 YPQVFYGDMYGTKGTSPKEIPSLKDNIEPILKARDEYAYG 397
    SEQ ID 2 YPQVFYGDMYGTKGDSQREIPALKHKIEPILKARDQYAYG 397
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 TQHDYLDHSDIIGWTREGGTEKPGSGLAALITDGPGGSKW 437
    SEQ ID 4 PQHDYIDHPDVIGWTREGDSSAAKSGLAALITDGPGGSKR 437
    SEQ ID 2 AQHDYFDHHDIVGWTREGDSSVANSGLAALITDGPGGAKR 437
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 MYVGKQHAGKVFYDLTGNRSDTVTINSDGWGEFKVNGGSV 477
    SEQ ID 4 MYAGLKNAGETWYDITGNRSDTVKIGSDGWGEFHVNDGSV 477
    SEQ ID 2 MYVGRQNAGETWHDITGNRSEPVVINSEGWGEFHVNGGSV 477
    SEQUENCE Res #
    SEQ ID 6 SVWVPRKTTVSTIARPITTRPWTGEFVRWTEPRLVAWP 515
    SEQ ID 4 SIYVQK 483
    SEQ ID 2 SIYVQR 483
  • Although the present invention is illustrated on the basis of modifications of the B. licheniformis α-amylase having the amino acid sequence shown in SEO ID No. 2 (commercially available from Novo Nordisk A/S, Denmark as Termamyl®), it will be understood that analogues of said α-amylase may be modified correspondingly to create variants with improved washing and/or dishwashing performance. Thus, whenever reference is made to a specific modification of the B. licheniformis α-amylase it will be understood that an analogous α-amylase may be modified analogously.
  • In the present context, the term "analogue" is intended to indicate an α-amylase which
    • i) is at least 70% identical with the sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2, and optionally may also
    • ii) exhibits immunological cross-reactivity with an antibody raised against the said α-amylase, and/or
    • iii) is encoded by a DNA sequence which hybridizes with the same probe as the DNA sequence encoding the said α-amylase, which latter DNA sequence is shown in SEQ ID No. 1.
  • Property i) of said analogue of the B. licheniformis α-amylase having the sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2 is intended to indicate the degree of identity between the analogue and the B. licheniformis α-amylase indicating a derivation of the first sequence from the second. In particular, a polypeptide is considered to be homologous with the B. licheniformis α-amylase if a comparison of the respective amino acid sequences reveals a degree of sequence identity of greater than about 70%, such as above 80%, 85%, 90% or even 95%. Sequence comparisons can be performed via known algorithms, such as the one described by Lipman and Pearson (1985).
  • Said analogues of the B. licheniformis α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2 as defined by property i) above are therefore intended to comprise a homologous α-amylase derived from other Bacillus spp. than B. licheniformis, e.g. from B. amyloliquefaciens. Furthermore, the analogue may be a B. licheniformis α-amylase having an amino acid sequence different from, but homologous with, that shown in SEQ ID No. 2. An example of such an α-amylase is that produced by the B. licheniformis described in EP 252 666 (ATCC 27811), and those identified in WO 91/00353 and WO 94/18314 . Other specific examples of analogues of the B. licheniformis α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2 are Optitherm® and Takatherm® (available from Solvay), Maxamyl® (available from Gist-Brocades), and Spezym AA® (available from Genencor).
  • Finally, the α-amylase analogue may be a genetically engineered α-amylase, e.g. any of those mentioned in the above described prior art references or a variant of any of the above specified B. licheniformis α-amylases. Typically, a genetically engineered α-amylase will have been prepared in order to improve one or more properties such as thermostability, acid/alkaline stability, temperature, pH optimum, and the like.
  • The properties ii) and iii) of said analogue of the B. licheniformis α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2 may be determined as follows:
  • Property ii) of said analogue, i.e. the immunological cross reactivity, may be assayed using an antibody raised against or reactive with at least one epitope of the B. licheniformis α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2. The antibody, which may either be monoclonal or polyclonal, may be produced by methods known in the art, e.g. as described by Hudson et al., 1989. The immunological cross-reactivity may be determined using assays known in the art, examples of which are Western Blotting or radial immunodiffusion assay, e.g. as described by Hudson et al., 1989. In this respect, immunological cross-reactivity between the α-amylases having the amino acid sequences SEQ ID Nos. 2, 4 and 6, respectively, has been found.
  • The oligonucleotide probe used in the characterization of the analogue in accordance with property iii) defined above may suitably be prepared on the basis of the full or partial nucleotide or amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1 and 2, encoding or constituting, respectively, the B. licheniformis α-amylase. Suitable conditions for testing hybridization involve presoaking in 5×SSC and prehybridizing for 1h at ~40°C in a solution of 20% formamide, 5×Denhardt's solution, 50mM sodium phosphate, pH 6.8, and 50µg of denatured sonicated calf thymus DNA, followed by hybridization in the same solution supplemented with 100µM ATP for 18h at ~40°C, or other methods described by e.g. Sambrook et al., 1989.
  • The present inventors have surprisingly found that modification of one or more amino acid residues in the N-terminal part of the B. licheniformis α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2 results in improved washing and/or dishwashing performance of the resulting variant α-amylase.
  • This finding is surprising in that the N-terminal part of the α-amylase in a spatial model has been found to be located at a position remote from the active site of the molecule, indicating little importance of this region for activity. The spatial model of B. licheniformis α-amylase was built using, as scaffold, the Aspergillus oryzae α-amylase X-ray structure, 2TAA.PDB, from the protein databank, Brook-haven National Laboratories. Only regions around the B-barrel "domain" were built. The model was made by incorporating two minor deletions in the N-terminal part and a large insertion (30 residues) in the middle part of the B. licheniformis α-amylase sequence compared to that of the A. oryzae α-amylase.
  • In accordance with the above finding, and in a specific embodiment, the invention relates to the variant of a parent α-amylase according to claim 1, comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2, or the variant of an analogue of said parent α-amylase according to claim 1, which variant has improved dishwashing performance compared to the α-amylase of SEQ ID NO. 2 as defined in Claim 1.
  • Variants of the parent B. licheniformis α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2, or the variant of an analogue of said parent α-amylase in which at least one amino acid residue located in position 17-35, such as position 20-35, of said parent α-amylase has in addition been substituted or deleted, or in which at least one amino acid has in addition been added to said parent α-amylase within the amino acid segment located in position 17-35 (such as 20-35), has been found to be of interest.
  • This segment constitutes a region of a relatively low degree of homology in the otherwise highly conserved N-terminal part of the α-amylases derived from B. licheniformis, B. amyloliquefaciens and B. stearothermophilus. It has been found that amino acid substitutions within this region of the B. licheniformis α-amylase, in particular to amino acid residues located in the homologous position in B. amyloliquefaciens and B. stearothermophilus α-amylase, lead to α-amylase variants with improved properties.
  • In particular, the region defined by amino acid residues 29-35 of the B. licheniformis α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEO ID No. 2 comprises a large number of positions in which no homology exists between the various Bacillus α-amylases. Accordingly, a B. licheniformis α-amylase variant as described herein may be a variant in which in addition at least one amino acid residue located in position 29-35 of the parent α-amylase has been substituted or deleted, or in which in addition at least one amino acid has been added to the parent α-amylase within the amino acid segment located in position 29-35.
  • More specifically, B. licheniformis α-amylase variants described herein may be one in which additional amino acid residue(s) located in one or more of the following positions have been modified, i.e. deleted or replaced by any other amino acid residue as explained above:
    N17, R23, S29, A30, Y31, A33, E34, H35
  • A B. licheniformis α-amylase variant also as described herein is a variant which comprises the following mutations:
    • R23K,T
    • S29A
    • A30E,N
    • Y31 H,N
    • A33S
    • E34D,S
    • H351,L;
    • or any combination of these mutations.
  • In example 1 below, the construction of a number of different B. licheniformis α-amylase variants is described, which variants have been modified by one or more amino acid substitutions or deletions within the N-terminal end region of the B. licheniformis α-amylase. All of these variants have been found to have an improved washing and/or dishwashing performance as compared to their parent α-amylase.
  • Furthermore, other specific amino acid residues or regions of interest of the B. licheniformis α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2 or an analogue thereof are listed below, together with preferred modifications of these amino acid residues or regions. Accordingly, the present application also describes a B. licheniformis α-amylase variants which comprises at least one modification of an amino acid residue or region listed below. The variant comprises at least one, or a combination of two or more, of the specific amino acid modifications mentioned below:
    • a) modification of an amino acid residue located in position 1, 2, 3 and/or 15; accordingly, a B. licheniformis α-amylase variant of interest is one which comprises a mutation in position A1, N2, L3 or M15 of the parent α-amylase, preferably one or more of the mutations A1V, M15T,L, N2*, L3V or A1*+N2*;
    • b) modification of amino acid residues located in the region spanning amino acid residues 51-58, in particular an amino acid residue located in position 51, 52 and/or 58 thereof, e.g. at least one of the following mutations: Q51R, A52S, A58P,V;
    • c) modification of the amino acid residue H68, in particular one of the following mutations: H68N,Q;
    • d) modification of amino acid residues located in position 85 and/or 88, in particular at least one of the mutations S85Q, K88Q;
    • e) modification of amino acid residues located in the region 94-104, in particular an amino acid residue located in position 94, 95. 96, 99, 103 and/or 104 thereof, e.g. at least one of the following mutations: N960, G99A, I103F, N104D;
    • f) modification of amino acid residues located in the region 121-136, in particular an amino acid residue located in position 121, 127, 128, 131, 132, 133 and/or 134 thereof, e.g. at least one of the mutations D121N, R127Q, V128E, G131E, E132T, H133Y, L134Q, K136Q;
    • g) modification of amino acid residues located in position 140, 142, 148 and/or 152, e.g. at least one of the following mutations: H140K, H142D, D152S, S148N;
    • h) modification of amino acid residues located in the region 142-182, in particular a deletion of all or a substantial part of the amino acid residues in the said region;
    • i) modification of amino acid residues located in the region 172-178, in particular an amino acid residue located in the position 172, 175, 177 and/or 178, e.g. at least one of the following mutations: N172S, F177FRG, Q1781,E;
    • j) modification of amino acid residues S187, A209 and/or T217, in particular the mutation S187D, A209V and/or T217K;
    • k) modification of amino acid residue R242, in particular the mutation R242P;
    • l) modification of an amino acid residue located in the region 246-251, in particular an amino acid residue located in the position 246, 247, 250 and/or 251, e.g. H247A,Y, E250Q,S, K251A,Q
    • m) modification of amino acid residue E255, in particular the mutation E255P;
    • n) modification of an amino acid residue located in the region 260-269, in particular an amino acid residue located in position 260, 264, 265, 267, 268, and/or 269, e.g. at least one of the following mutations: A260G, N265Y, A269K;
    • o) modification of an amino acid residue located in the region 290-293, in particular an amino acid residue located in position 290, 291 and/or 293, e.g. at least one of the following mutations: Y290F,N, Q291K, H293Q,Y;
    • p) modification of an amino acid residue located in the region 314-320, in particular an amino acid residue in position 315, 318 and/or 320, e.g. the following mutations: K315D, L318T and/or S320A;
    • q) modification of amino acid residues T341 and/or Q360, in particular the mutation T341 P and/or Q360C:
    • r) modification of an amino acid residue located in the region 369-383, in particular an amino acid residue in position 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 376, 379 and/or 382, e.g. at least one of the following mutations: 370*, 371*, 372*, (370-372)*, S373P, Q374P, R375Y, A379S, H382S;
    • s) modification of an amino acid residue located in position 393, 398 and/or 409, e.g. the mutations Q393D, A398T,P and/or V409l;
    • t) modification of an amino acid residue located in the region 416-421, in particular an amino acid residue located in position 419, 420 and/or 421, e.g. at least one of the following mutations: V419K, A420P, N421G;
    • u) modification of amino acid residues A435 and/or H450, in particular the mutations A435S and/or H450Y;
    • v) modification of an amino acid residue located in the region 458-465, in particular an amino acid residue located in position 458, 459 and/or 461, e.g. at least one of the following mutations: P459T, V461K,T;
    • w) modification of the amino acid residue M197 in combination with at least one further mutation, including a deletion or replacement, of an additional amino acid residue of the amino acid sequence and/or an addition of at least one amino acid residue within the sequence, or at the C-terminal and/or N-terminal end of the amino acid sequence.
  • Specific examples of α-amylase variants as defined in w) above include variants comprising one of the mutations M197T,G,I,L,A,S,N,C in combination with any other mutation defined herein.
  • Based on the spatial model of the B. licheniformis α-amylase referred to above, it is presently contemplated that the deletion mentioned in h) above may result in an improved accessability to the active site, thereby improving the substrate specificity without, however, changing the thermoactivation to any substantial extent.
  • Normally, it is found that insertion of additional proline residues in enzymes results in a stabilization of the enzyme at elevated temperatures, possibly due to the fact that a high number of proline residues makes the structure of the enzyme more rigid at elevated temperatures. In the present invention it has surprisingly been found that insertion of additional proline residues in the B. licheniformis α-amylase results in a destabilization of the resulting variant at elevated temperatures. Thus, by insertion of proline residues the temperature optimum of the resulting variant is lowered.
  • It has surprisingly been found that protina-substituted variants of the B. licheniformis α-amylase with a lowered temperature optimum show considerably improved washing and/or dishwashing performance.
  • When the parent α-amylase is a B. licheniformis α-amylase, the non-proline amino acid residue to be replaced with proline is preferably located in a position which in other α-amylases, such as a B. amyloliquefaciens or B. stearothermophilus α-amylase, is occupied by proline.
  • Accordingly, the present application also discloses variants in which one or more non-proline residues have been substituted for proline residues. When the parent α-amylase is the B. licheniformis α-amylase, mutations of interest include:
    R242P, T341P, S373P, Q374P, A420P, Q482P.
  • Finally, on the basis of the spatial model of the B. licheniformis α-amylase referred to above, it is contemplated that the variants prepared by the following amino acid substitutions in the substrate binding area have an improved (higher) pH optimum with respect to dishwashing/washing performance:
    R23E,D, K106E,D, 1135E,D, K156E,D, V186E,D, Y198E,D, Y193E,D, Q178E,D, K234E,D, K237E,D and/or Q360E,D.
  • As mentioned above, one example of an analogous amylase is a B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase. The amino acid sequences of a B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase and a B. stearothermophilus α-amylase are shown in SEQ ID No. 4 and SEQ ID No. 6, respectively. The terms B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase and B. stearothermophilus α-amylase, respectively, are intended to include analogues of these α-amylases which
    • i) have an amino acid sequence which is at least 60% homologous, such as at least 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, 90% or 95% homologous, with the sequences shown in SEQ ID No. 4 and 6, respectively, and/or
    • ii) exhibit immunological cross-reactivity with an antibody raised against said α-amylase, and/or
    • iii) are encoded by a DNA sequence which hybridizes with the same probe as the DNA sequence encoding said α-amylase, which latter DNA sequence is shown in SEQ ID No. 3 and 5, respectively.
  • Properties i)-iii) are to be understood in the same manner as explained above in connection with the B. licheniformis α-amylase. Specific examples of analogues of the B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 4 are BAN® (available from Novo Nordisk A/S), Optiamyl® (available from Solvay), Dexlo® and Rapidase® (available from Gist-Brocades) and Kazuzase® (a mixed α-amylase and protease product available from Showa Denko). Specific examples of analogues of the B. stearothermophilus α-amylase comprising the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 6 are Uquozyme 280L® (available from Novo Nordisk A/S) and G-zyme 995® (available from Enzyme BioSystems).
  • It is contemplated that the principles disclosed herein for preparation of variants with improved washing and/or dishwashing performance may be used for preparing variants of the closely related B. amyloliquefaciens and the B. stearothermophilus α-amylases. Thus, for instance, amino acid residues located in positions in the B. amyloliquefaciens or B. stearothermophilus α-amylase homologous to the B. licheniformis amino acid residues mentioned above may be substituted with similar amino acid residues, thereby giving rise to novel variants with improved properties.
  • Homologous positions may be identified by a comparison of the primary structures (cf. the comparison between SEQ ID Nos. 2, 4 and 6 given hereinbefore) or of the tertiary structures of the α-amylases in question.
  • Homologous positions in the tertiary structure may be determined by comparison with the established crystal structure of other α-amylases, such as the A. oryzae α-amylase structure (referred to above) or the A. niger α-amylase structure (Boel et al., 1990, Biochemistry 29, pp. 6244-6249.
  • Furthermore, it is contemplated that the above described principles for preparing α-amylase variants having improved washing and/or dishwashing performance may be used for preparing variants of other α-amylases such as an α-amylase derived from B. subtilis or from a strain of Aspergillus such as a strain of A. niger, e.g. the α-amylase described in Danish Patent Application DK 5126/87 , or A. oryzae, e.g. the commercially available Fungamyl® (Novo Nordisk A/S) having the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 7, Mycolase® (Gist-Brocades), Clarase (Solvay), and Phlowzyme® (Enzyme BioSystems).
  • It should be noted that any one of the modifications of the amino acid sequence indicated above for the α-amylase variants may be combined with any one of the other modifications mentioned above, where appropriate.
  • The present inventors have found that an apparent relationship exists between the washing and/or dishwashing performance of a given enzyme and the hydrolysis velocity obtained in a given reaction.
  • More specifically, it has been found that the higher the hydrolysis velocity, the better the washing and/or dishwashing performance which is obtained. Thus, without being limited to any theory it is contemplated that the improvement of washing and/or dishwashing performance obtained with an α-amylase variant of the invention as compared to that of the parent α-amylase may be directly predicted by comparing the hydrolysis velocity obtained for the variant and the parent α-amylase, respectively, when tested under similar conditions. The hydrolysis velocity may be calculated by use of the Michaelis-Menten equation, c.f. Example 11 below.
  • From the equation given in Example 11 it will be apparent that at low substrate concentrations, the hydrolysis velocity is directly proportional to Vmax and is inversely proportional to Km.
  • Accordingly, the α-amylase variant of the invention is preferably one which at low substrate concentrations has a higher hydrolysis velocity than the parent α-amylase. Alternatively, the α-amylase variant of the invention is preferably one which has a higher Vmax and/or a lower Km than the parent α-amylase when tested under the same conditions. In the case of a hybrid α-amylase, the parent α-amylase to be used for the comparison should be the one of the parent enzymes having the best performance.
  • The Vmax, Km and V may be determined by well-known procedures, e.g. by the method described in Example 11 below.
  • Methods of preparing α-amylase variants
  • Several methods for introducing mutations into genes are known in the art. After a brief discussion of the cloning of α-amylase-encoding DNA sequences (which for instance encode functional analogues of the Bacillus α-amylases disclosed herein), methods for generating mutations at specific sites within the α-amylase-encoding sequence will be discussed.
  • Cloning a DNA sequence encoding an α-amylase
  • The DNA sequence encoding a parent α-amylase may be isolated from any cell or microorganism producing the α-amylase in question, using various methods well known in the art. First, a genomic DNA and/or cDNA library should be constructed using chromosomal DNA or messenger RNA from the organism that produces the α-amylase to be studied. Then, if the amino acid sequence of the α-amylase is known, homologous, labelled oligonucleotide probes may be synthesized and used to identify α-amylase-encoding clones from a genomic library prepared from the organism in question. Alternatively, a labelled oligonucleotide probe containing sequences homologous to a known α-amylase gene could be used as a probe to identify α-amylase-encoding clones, using hybridization and washing conditions of lower stringency.
  • Yet another method for identifying α-amylase-encoding clones would involve inserting fragments of genomic DNA into an expression vector, such as a plasmid, transforming α-amylase-negative bacteria with the resulting genomic DNA library, and then plating the transformed bacteria onto agar containing a substrate for α-amylase, thereby allowing clones expressing the α-amylase to be identified.
  • Alternatively, the DNA sequence encoding the enzyme may be prepared synthetically by established standard methods, e.g. the phosphoamidite method described by S.L. Beaucage and M.H. Caruthers (1981) or the method described by Matthes et al. (1984). In the phosphoamidite method, oligonucleotides are synthesized, e.g. in an automatic DNA synthesizer, purified, annealed, ligated and cloned in appropriate vectors.
  • Finally, the DNA sequence may be of mixed genomic and synthetic origin, mixed synthetic and cDNA origin or mixed genomic and cDNA origin, prepared by ligating fragments of synthetic, genomic or cDNA origin (as appropriate, the fragments corresponding to various parts of the entire DNA sequence), in accordance with standard techniques. The DNA sequence may also be prepared by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using specific primers, for instance as described in US 4,683,202 or R.K. Saiki et al. (1988 ).
  • Site-directed mutagenesis
  • Once an α-amylase-encoding DNA sequence has been isolated, and desirable sites for mutation identified, mutations may be introduced using synthetic oligonucleotides. These oligonucleotides contain nucleotide sequences flanking the desired mutation sites; mutant nucleotides are inserted during oligonucleotide synthesis. In a specific method, a single-stranded gap of DNA, bridging the α-amylase-encoding sequence, is created in a vector carrying the α-amylase gene. Then the synthetic nucleotide, bearing the desired mutation, is annealed to a homologous portion of the single-stranded DNA. The remaining gap is then filled in with DNA polymerase I (Klenow fragment) and the construct is ligated using T4 ligase. A specific example of this method is described in Morinaga et al. (1984). US 4,760,025 discloses the introduction of oligonucleotides encoding multiple mutations by performing minor alterations of the cassette. However, an even greater variety of mutations can be introduced at any one time by the Morinaga method, because a multitude of oligonucleotides, of various lengths, can be introduced.
  • Another method of introducing mutations into α-amylase-encoding DNA sequences is described in Nelson and Long (1989), It involves the 3-step generation of a PCR fragment containing the desired mutation introduced by using a chemically synthesized DNA strand as one of the primers in the PCR reactions. From the PCR-generated fragment, a DNA fragment carrying the mutation may be isolated by cleavage with restriction endonucleases and reinserted into an expression plasmid.
  • Random mutagenesis
  • Random mutations may be introduced in a DNA sequence encoding a parent α-amylase by subjecting the DNA sequence to a suitable physical or chemical mutagenic agent such as UV irradiation, ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS), sodium bisulphite or any other mutagenic agent known in the art, or by subjecting the DNA sequence to directed random mutagenesis by use of PCR using degenerate oligonucleotides for the introduction of mutations in a specified region.
  • Screening for or selection of variants of the invention
  • The screening for or selection of variants (including hybrids) of the invention may suitably be performed by determining the starch-degrading activity of the variant, for instance by growing host cells transformed with a DNA sequence encoding a variant on a starch-containing agarose plate and identifying starch-degrading host cells. Furthermore, the selection or screening will involve testing of one or more parameters of importance in connection with dishwashing performance as described in Claim 1. Such parameters may, e.g., include the specific activity, the substrate specificity, the thermoactivation, the pH optimum, the temperature optimum, the tolerance towards constituents of conventionally used detergent compositions (e.g. of the types mentioned further below) and any other parameter considered to be of importance for washing and/or dishwashing performance. All of these parameters may be determined in accordance with well-known principles. Finally, the performance of the variant may be tested by use of a suitable washing and/or dishwashing assay, e.g. as described in the Materials and Methods section below.
  • Expression of α-amylase variants
  • According to the invention, a mutated α-amylase-encoding DNA sequence produced by methods described above, or by any alternative methods known in the art, can be expressed, in enzyme form, using an expression vector which typically includes control sequences encoding a promoter, operator, ribosome binding site, translation initiation signal, and, optionally, a repressor gene or various activator genes.
  • The recombinant expression vector carrying the DNA sequence encoding an α-amylase variant of the invention encoding may be any vector which may conveniently be subjected to recombinant DNA procedures, and the choice of vector will often depend on the host cell into which it is to be introduced. Thus, the vector may be an autonomously replicating vector, i.e. a vector which exists as an extrachromosomal entity, the replication of which is independent of chromosomal replication, e.g. a plasmid, a bacteriophage or an extrachromosomal element, minichromosome or an artificial chromosome. Alternatively, the vector may be one which, when introduced into a host cell, is integrated into the host cell genome and replicated together with the chromosome(s) into which it has been integrated.
  • In the vector, the DNA sequence should be operably connected to a suitable promoter sequence. The promoter may be any DNA sequence which shows transcriptional activity in the host cell of choice and may be derived from genes encoding proteins either homologous or heterologous to the host cell. Examples of suitable promoters for directing the transcription of the DNA sequence encoding an α-amylase variant of the invention, especially in a bacterial host, are the promoter of the lac operon of E.coli, the Streptomyces coelicolor agarase gene dagA promoters, the promoters of the Bacillus licheniformis α-amylase gene (amyL), the promoters of the Bacillus stearothermophilus maltogenic amylase gene (amyM), the promoters of the Bacillus Amyloliquefaciens α-amylase (amyQ), the promoters of the Bacillus subtilis xylA and xylB genes etc. For transcription in a fungal host, examples of useful promoters are those derived from the gene encoding A. oryzae TAKA amylase, Rhizomucor miehei aspartic proteinase, A. niger neutral α-amylase, A. niger acid stable α-amylase, A. niger glucoamylase, Rhizomucor miehei lipase, A. oryzae alkaline protease, A. oryzae triose phosphate isomerase or A. nidulans acetamidase.
  • The expression vector of the invention may also comprise a suitable transcription terminator and, in eukaryotes, polyadenylation sequences operably connected to the DNA sequence encoding the α-amylase variant of the invention. Termination and polyadenylation sequences may suitably be derived from the same sources as the promoter.
  • The vector may further comprise a DNA sequence enabling the vector to replicate in the host cell in question. Examples of such sequences are the origins of replication of plasmids pUC19, pACYC177, pUB110, pE194, pAMB1 and pIJ702.
  • The vector may also comprise a selectable marker, e.g. a gene the product of which complements a defect in the host cell, such as the dal genes from B. subtilis or B. licheniformis, or one which confers antibiotic resistance such as ampicillin, kanamycin, chloramphenicol or tetracyclin resistance. Furthermore, the vector may comprise Aspergillus selection markers such as amds, argB, niaD and sC, a marker giving rise to hygromycin resistance, or the selection may be accomplished by co-transformation, e.g. as described in WO 91/17243 .
  • While intracellular expression may be advantageous in some respects, e.g. when using certain bacteria as host cells, it is generally preferred that the expression is extracellular. In general, the Bacillus α-amylases mentioned herein comprise a preregion permitting secretion of the expressed protease into the culture medium. If desirable, this preregion may be replaced by a different preregion or signal sequence, conveniently accomplished by substitution of the DNA sequences encoding the respective preregions.
  • The procedures used to ligate the DNA construct of the invention encoding an α-amylase variant, the promoter, terminator and other elements, respectively, and to insert them into suitable vectors containing the information necessary for replication, are well known to persons skilled in the art (cf., for instance, Sambrook et al. (1989)).
  • The cell of the invention, either comprising a DNA construct or an expression vector of the invention as defined above, is advantageously used as a host cell in the recombinant production of an α-amylase variant of the invention. The cell may be transformed with the DNA construct of the invention encoding the variant, conveniently by integrating the DNA construct (in one or more copies) in the host chromosome. This integration is generally considered to be an advantage as the DNA sequence is more likely to be stably maintained in the cell. Integration of the DNA constructs into the host chromosome may be performed according to conventional methods, e.g. by homologous or heterologous recombination. Alternatively, the cell may be transformed with an expression vector as described above in connection with the different types of host cells.
  • The cell of the invention may be a cell of a higher organism such as a mammal or an insect, but is preferably a microbial cell, e.g. a bacterial or a fungal (including yeast) cell.
  • Examples of suitable bacteria are grampositive bacteria such as Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus lentus, Bacillus brevis, Bacillus stearothermophilus, Bacillus alkalophilus, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus circulans, Bacillus lautus, Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, or Streptomyces lividans or Streptomyces murinus, or gramnegative bacteria such as E.coli. The transformation of the bacteria may, for instance, be effected by protoplast transformation or by using competent cells in a manner known per se.
  • The yeast organism may favourably be selected from a species of Saccharomyces or Schizosaccharomyces, e.g. Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The filamentous fungus may advantageously belong to a species of Aspergillus, e.g. Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus niger. Fungal cells may be transformed by a process involving protoplast formation and transformation of the protoplasts followed by regeneration of the cell wall in a manner known per se. A suitable procedure for transformation of Aspergillus host cells is described in EP 238 023 .
  • In a yet further aspect, the present invention relates to a method of producing an α-amylase variant of the invention, which method comprises cultivating a host cell as described above under conditions conducive to the production of the variant and recovering the variant from the cells and/or culture medium.
  • The medium used to cultivate the cells may be any conventional medium suitable for growing the host cell in question and obtaining expression of the α-amylase variant of the invention. Suitable media are available from commercial suppliers or may be prepared according to published recipes (e.g. as described in catalogues of the American Type Culture Collection).
  • The α-amylase variant secreted from the host cells may conveniently be recovered from the culture medium by well-known procedures, including separating the cells from the medium by centrifugation or filtration, and precipitating proteinaceous components of the medium by means of a salt such as ammonium sulphate, followed by the use of chromatographic procedures such as ion exchange chromatography, affinity chromatography, or the like.
  • Detergent Additive and Composition for Dishwashing and Washing
  • Due to their improved washing and/or dishwashing performance, α-amylase variants of the invention are particularly well suited for incorporation into detergent compositions, e.g. detergent compositions intended for performance in the range of pH 7-13, particularly the range of pH 8-11.
  • According to the invention, the α-amylase variant may be added as a component of a detergent composition. As such, it may be included in the detergent composition in the form of a detergent additive. The detergent composition as well as the detergent additive may additionally comprise one or more other enzymes conventionally used in detergents, such as proteases, lipases, amylolytic enzymes, oxidases (including peroxidases), or cellulases.
  • It has been found that substantial improvements in washing and/or dishwashing performance may be obtained when α-amylase is combined with another amylolytic enzyme, such as a pullulanase, an iso-amylase, a beta-amylase, an amyloglucosidase or a CTGase. Examples of commercially available amylolytic enzymes suitable for the given purpose are AMG®, Novamyl® and Promozyme®, all available from Novo Nordisk A/S.
  • Accordingly, in a particular embodiment the invention relates to a detergent additive comprising an α-amylase variant of the invention in combination with at least one other amylolytic enzyme (e.g. chosen amongst those mentioned above).
  • In a specific aspect, the invention provides a detergent additive. The enzymes may be included in a detergent composition by adding separate additives containing one or more enzymes, or by adding a combined additive comprising all of these enzymes. A detergent additive of the invention, i.e. a separated additive or a combined additive, can be formulated, e.g., as a granulate, liquid, slurry, etc. Preferred detergent additive formulations are granulates (in particular non-dusting granulates), liquids (in particular stabilized liquids), slurries or protected enzymes.
  • Non-dusting granulates may be produced, e.g., as disclosed in US 4,106,991 and US 4,661,452 , and may optionally be coated by methods known in the art. The detergent enzymes may be mixed before or after granulation.
  • Liquid enzyme preparations may, for instance, be stabilized by adding a polyol such as propylene glycol, a sugar or sugar alcohol, lactic acid or boric acid according to established methods. Other enzyme stabilizers are well known in the art. Protected enzymes may be prepared according to the method disclosed in EP 238 216 .
  • In a still further aspect, the invention relates to a detergent composition comprising an α-amylase variant (including hybrid) of the invention.
  • The detergent composition of the invention may be in any convenient form, e.g. as powder, granules or liquid. A liquid detergent may be aqueous, typically containing up to 90% of water and 0-20% of organic solvent, or non-aqueous, e.g. as described in EP Patent 120,659 .
  • Washing detergent composition
  • The washing detergent composition (i.e. a composition useful for laundry washing) comprises a surfactant which may be anionic, non-ionic, cationic, amphoteric or a mixture of these types. The detergent will usually contain 0-50% of anionic surfactant such as linear alkylbenzene sulfonate, α-olefinsulfonate, alkyl sulfate, alcohol ethoxy sulfate or soap. It may also contain 0-40% of non-ionic surfactant such as nonyl phenol ethoxylate or alcohol ethoxylate. Furthermore, it may contain an N-(polyhydroxyalkyl)-fatty acid amide surfactant (e.g. as described in WO 92/06154 ).
  • The detergent may contain 1-40% of detergent builders such as zeolite, di- or triphosphate, phosphonate, citrate, NTA, EDTA or DTPA, alkenyl succinic anhydride, or silicate, or it may be unbuilt (i.e. essentially free of a detergent builder).
  • The detergent composition of the invention may be stabilized using conventional stabilizing agents for the enzyme(s), e.g. a polyol such as e.g. propylene glycol, a sugar or sugar alcohol, lactic acid, boric acid, or a boric acid derivative, e.g. an aromatic borate ester, and the composition may be formulated as described in e.g. WO 92/19709 or WO 92/19708 . Other enzyme stabilizers are well known in the art.
  • The detergent composition of the invention may contain bleaching agents, e.g. perborate, percarbonate and/or activator, tetraacetyl ethylene diamine, or nonanoyloxybenzene sulfonate, and may be formulated as described in, e.g., WO 92/07057 .
  • The detergent composition of the invention may also contain other conventional detergent ingredients, e.g. deflocculating polymers, fabric conditioners, foam boosters, foam depressors, anti-corrosion agents, soil-suspending agents, sequestering agents, anti-soil redeposition agents, dyes, bactericides, optical brighteners and perfumes, as well as enzymes as mentioned above.
  • Particular forms of detergent composition within the scope of the invention and containing an α-amylase variant of the invention include:
    • a) A detergent composition formulated as a detergent powder containing phosphate builder, anionic surfactant, nonionic surfactant, silicate, alkali to adjust to desired pH in use, and neutral inorganic salt.
    • b) A detergent composition formulated as a detergent powder containing zeolite builder, anionic surfactant, nonionic surfactant, acrylic or equivalent polymer, silicate, alkali to adjust to desired pH in use, and neutral inorganic salt.
    • c) A detergent composition formulated as an aqueous detergent liquid comprising anionic surfactant, nonionic surfactant, organic acid, alkali, with a pH in use adjusted to a value between 7 and 11.
    • d) A detergent composition formulated as a nonaqueous detergent liquid comprising a liquid nonionic surfactant consisting essentially of linear alkoxylated primary alcohol, phosphate builder, alkali, with a pH in use adjusted to a value between about 7 and 11.
    • e) A compact detergent composition formulated as a detergent powder in the form of a granulate having a bulk density of at least 600 g/l, containing anionic surfactant and nonionic surfactant, phosphate builder, sodium silicate, and little or substantially no neutral inorganic salt.
    • f) A compact detergent composition formulated as a detergent powder in the form of a granulate having a bulk density of at least 600 g/I, containing anionic surfactant and nonionic surfactant, zeolite builder, sodium silicate, and little or substantially no neutral inorganic salt.
    • g) A detergent composition formulated as a detergent powder containing anionic surfactant, nonionic surfactant, acrylic polymer, fatty acid soap, sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate, clay particles, and sodium silicate.
    • h) A liquid compact detergent comprising 5-65% by weight of surfactant, 0-50% by weight of builder and 0-30% by weight of electrolyte.
    • i) A compact granular detergent comprising linear alkyl benzene sulphonate, tallow alkyl sulphate, C4-5 alkyl sulphate, C4-5 alcohol 7 times ethoxylated, tallow alcohol 11 times ethoxylated, dispersant, silicone fluid, trisodium citrate, citric acid, zeolite, maleic acid acrylic acid copolymer, DETMPA, cellulase, protease, lipase, an amylolytic enzyme, sodium silicate, sodium sulphate, PVP, perborate and accelerator.
    • j) A granular detergent comprising sodium linear C1-2 alkyl benzene sulfonate, sodium sulfate, zeolite A, sodium nitrilotriacetate, cellulase, PVP, TAED, boric acid, perborate and accelerator.
    • k) A liquid detergent comprising C12-14 alkenyl succinic acid, citric acid monohydrate, sodium C12-15 alkyl sulphate, sodium sulfate of C12-15 alcohol 2 times ethoxylated, C12-15 alcohol 7 times ethoxylated, C12-15 alcohol 5 times ethoxylated, diethylene triamine penta (methylene phosphonic acid), oleic acid, ethanol, propanediol, protease, cellulase, PVP, suds supressor, NaOH, perborate and accelerator.
  • Furthermore, examples of suitable detergent compositions in which α-amylase variants of the invention may advantageously be included comprise the detergent compositions described in EP 373 850 , EP 378 261 , WO 92/19709 , EP 381 397 , EP 486 073 , WO 92/19707 , EP 407 225 , and WO 92/13054 .
  • Dishwashing Composition
  • The dishwashing detergent composition comprises a surfactant which may be anionic, non-ionic, cationic, amphoteric or a mixture of these types. The detergent will contain 0-90% of non-ionic surfactant such as low- to non-foaming ethoxylated propoxylated straight-chain alcohols.
  • The detergent composition may contain detergent builder salts of inorganic and/or organic types. The detergent builders may be subdivided into phosphorus-containing and non-phosphorus-containing types. The detergent composition usually contains 1-90% of detergent builders.
  • Examples of phosphorus-containing inorganic alkaline detergent builders, when present, include the water-soluble salts especially alkali metal pyrophosphates, orthophosphates, polyphosphates, and phosphonates. Examples of non-phosphorus-containing inorganic builders, when present, include water-soluble alkali metal carbonates, borates and silicates as well as the various types of water-insoluble crystalline or amorphous alumino silicates of which zeolites are the best-known representatives.
  • Examples of suitable organic builders include the alkali metal, ammonium and substituted ammonium, citrates, succinates, malonates, fatty acid sulfonates, carboxymethoxy succinates, ammonium polyacetates, carboxylates, polycarboxylates, aminopolycarboxylates, polyacetyl carboxylates and polyhydroxysuffonates.
  • Other suitable organic builders include the higher molecular weight polymers and co-polymers known to have builder properties, for example appropriate polyacrylic acid, polymaleic and polyacrylic/polymaleic acid copolymers and their salts.
  • The dishwashing detergent composition may contain bleaching agents of the chlorine/bromine-type or the oxygen-type. Examples of inorganic chlorine/bromine-type bleaches are lithium, sodium or calcium hypochlorite and hypobromite as well as chlorinated trisodium phosphate. Examples of organic chlorine/bromine-type bleaches are heterocyclic N-bromo and N-chloro imides such as trichloroisocyanuric, tribromoisocyanuric, dibromoisocyanuric and dichloroisocyanuric acids, and salts thereof with water-solubilizing cations such as potassium and sodium. Hydantoin compounds are also suitable.
  • The oxygen bleaches are preferred, for example in the form of an inorganic persalt, preferably with a bleach precursor or as a peroxy acid compound. Typical examples of suitable peroxy bleach compounds are alkali metal perborates, both tetrahydrates and monohydrates, alkali metal percarbonates, persilicates and perphosphates. Preferred activator materials are TAED and glycerol triacetate.
  • The dishwashing detergent composition of the invention may be stabilized using conventional stabilizing agents for the enzyme(s), e.g. a polyol such as e.g. propylene glycol, a sugar or a sugar alcohol, lactic acid, boric acid, or a boric acid derivative, e.g. an aromatic borate ester.
  • The dishwashing detergent composition of the invention may also contain other cor:ventional detergent ingredients, e.g. deflocculant material, filler material, foam depressors, anti-corrosion agents, soil-suspending agents, sequestering agents, anti-soil redeposition agents, dehydrating agents, dyes, bactericides, fluorescers, thickeners and perfumes.
  • Finally, the α-amylase variants of the invention may alone or in combination with at least one amylolytic enzyme, e.g. one of those defined above, be used in conventional dishwashing detergents, e.g. any of the detergents described in any of the following patent publications:
    • EP 551670 , EP 533239 , WO 9303129 , EP 507404 , US 5141664 ,
    • GB 2247025 , EP 414285 , GB 2234980 , EP 408278 , GB 2228945 ,
    • GB 2228944 , EP 387063 , EP 385521 , EP 373851 , EP 364260 ,
    • EP 349314 , EP 331370 , EP 318279 , EP 318204 , GB 2204319 ,
    • EP 266904 , US 5213706 , EP 530870 , CA 2006687 , EP 481547 ,
    • EP 337760 , WO 93/14183 , US 5223179 , WO 93/06202 , WO 93/05132 , WO 92/19707 , WO 92/09680 , WO 92/08777 , WO 92/06161 ,
    • WO 92/06157 , WO 92/06156 , WO 91/13959 , EP 399752 , US 4941988 , US 4908148 .
    Textile desizing
  • In the textile processing industry, α-amylases are traditionally used as auxiliaries in the desizing process to facilitate the removal of starch-containing size which has served as a protective coating on weft yarns during weaving.
  • Complete removal of the size coating after weaving is important to ensure optimum results in the subsequent processes, in which the fabric is scoured, bleached and dyed. Enzymatic starch break-down is preferred because it does not involve any harmful effect on the fibre material.
  • In order to reduce processing cost and increase mill throughput, the desizing processing is sometimes combined with the scouring and bleaching steps. In such cases, non-enzymatic auxiliaries such as alkali or oxidation agents are typically used to break down the starch, because traditional α-amylases are not very compatible with high pH levels and bleaching agents. The non-enzymatic breakdown of the starch size does lead to some fibre damage because of the rather aggressive chemicals used.
  • Accordingly, it would be desirable to use α-amylase enzymes having an improved resistance towards or compatible with oxidation (bleaching) agents at elevated pH, in order to retain the advantages of enzymatic size break down in a timesaving simultaneous desizing/scouring/bleaching process.
  • It is contemplated that α-amylase variants of the invention may be found to have an improved resistance towards oxidation agents and thus be useful in desizing processes as described above, in particular for substitution of non-enzymatic alkali or oxidation agents used today.
  • With reference to the appended drawings :
    • Fig. 1A is a restriction map of plasmid pDN1380,
    • Fig. 1B a restriction map of plasmid pDN1528,
    • Fig. 2 is a graph showing the improved dishwashing performance of M197T and amyL variant III compared to the parent α-amylase when tested at pH 10.5 and 55°C,
    • Fig. 3 is a graph showing the temperature/activity profile of Termamyl® compared to E255P and S373P in an automatic dishwashing detergent (5 g/l) (pH 10.1) as a function of the temperature (0.41 Phadebas Units = 1 NU).
    • Fig. 4 shows the delta reflection for different concentrations of enzyme obtained during laundry washing as described in Example 8. The delta reflection has been calculated from the reflection obtained for a swatch having been washed with the relevant enzyme and the reflectance obtained for a swatch washed without enzyme,
    • Fig. 5 shows the pH/activity profiles (activity/mg enzyme) of the amyL variant III and the amyL variant III + M197T of the invention as compared to that of Termamyl® measured at 60°C.
    • Fig. 6 is a graph showing the performance dose/response curves of E255P, S373P and Q374P compared to Termamyl® in full-scale dishwash performance evaluation (55°C, 4 g/l of standard European-type automatic dishwashing detergent),
    • Fig. 7 shows the temperature/activity profile of amyL variant III + M197T compared to Termamyl® according to mg enzyme (50mM Britton-Robinson buffer, 0.1 mM CaCl2, 55°C),
    • Fig. 8 shows the temperature/activity profile of the amyL variant III + M197T of the invention compared to Termamyl® (pH 9.0, 100mM Glycine buffer, 0.1 mM CaCl2),
    • Fig. 9 shows the dishwashing performance of the amyL variant III + M197T of the invention compared to Termamyl® (pH 10.3, 4 g/l of a standard European-type automatic dishwashing detergent), and
    • Figs. 10 and 11 show the results obtained following storage in a standard European-type automatic dishwashing detergent at 30°C/60 r.h. of amyL variant III + M197T compared to Termamyl® in a detergent composition.
  • The following examples further illustrate the present invention, and they are not intended to be in any way limiting to the scope of the invention as claimed.
  • MATERIALS AND METHODS Determination of α-amylase activity
  • α-Amylase activity is given herein in terms of Novo Units (NU). One thousand NU [i.e. one Kilo Novo α-amylase Unit (KNU)] is the amount of enzyme which, per hour, under standard conditions (37 ± 0.05°C; Ca content 0.0003 M; pH 5.6) dextrinizes 5.26 grams of starch dry substance (Merck Amylum solubile, Erg. B.6 Batch No. 9947275). Further details concerning the definition of NU are given in a brochure ("AF 9/6") which is available from Novo Nordisk A/S, Novo Allé, DK-2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark.
  • The determination of α-amylase activity is performed by a method - developed by Novo Nordisk A/S for determination of Termamyl® activity - in which Phadebas tablets (Phadebas® Amylase Test, supplied by Pharmacia Diagnostics) are used as substrate. This substrate is a cross-linked insoluble blue-coloured starch polymer which is mixed with bovine serum albumin and a buffer substance and tabletted. After suspension in water, the starch is hydrolysed by the α-amylase giving soluble blue fragments. The absorbance of the resulting blue solution, measured at 620 nm, is a function of the α-amylase activity; the enzyme activity is compared to that of an enzyme standard. Standard conditions for the method are:
    Temperature: 37°C
    pH: 7.3
    Reaction time: 15 minutes
    Calcium: 0.15 nM
  • Further details concerning this method are given in a brochure ("AF 207/1") which is available from Novo Nordisk A/S, Novo Allé, DK-2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark.
  • Somogyi Method for the Determination of Reducing Sugars
  • The method is based on the principle that the sugar reduces cupric ions to cuprous oxide which reacts with arsenate molybdate reagent to produce a blue colour which is measured spectrophotometrically. The solution which is to be examined must contain between 50 and 600 mg of glucose per litre.
  • 1 ml of sugar solution is mixed with 1 ml of copper reagent and placed in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes. The resulting mixture is cooled and admixed with 1 ml of Nelson's colour reagent and 10 ml of deionized water. The absorbancy at 520 nm is measured.
  • In the region 0-2 the absorbance is proportional to the amount of sugar, which may thus be calculated as follows: mg glucose / l = 100 sample blank standard blank
    Figure imgb0001
    %   glucose = sample blank 100 standard blank
    Figure imgb0002
  • REAGENTS 1. Somogyi's copper reagent
    • 35.1 g of Na2HPO4.2H2O, and
    • 40.0 g of potassium sodium tartrate (KNaC4H4O2.4H2O)
    are dissolved in
    • 700 ml of deionized water.
    • 100 ml of 1 N sodium hydroxide and
    • 80 ml of 10% cupric sulphate (CuSO4.5H2O) are added,
    • 180 g of anhydrous sodium sulphate are dissolved in the mixture, and the volume is brought to 1 litre with deionized water.
    2. Nelson's colour reagent
    • 50 g of ammonium molybdate are dissolved in
    • 900 ml of deionized water. Then
    • 42 ml of concentrated sulphuric acid (Merck) are added, followed by
    • 6 g of disodium hydrogen arsenate heptahydrate dissolved in 50 ml of deionized water, and the volume is brought to 1 litre with deionized water.
  • The solution must stand for 24-48 hours at 37°C before use. It must be stored in the dark in a brown glass bottle with a glass stopper.
  • 3. Standard
  • 100 mg of glucose (May & Baker, anhydrous) are dissolved in 1 litre of deionized water.
  • Reference: J. Biol. Chem. 153, 375 (1944) Determination of Km
  • The kinetics of hydrolysis catalyzed by the amylases at various substrate concentrations were determined using the Somogyi-Nelson method with soluble starch as substrate (Merck 1252.). The hydrolysis velocities were measured under different substrate concentrations (1%, 0.5%, 0.3%, 0.25% and 0,2% starch solution). The number of reducing sugars were measured using the Somogyi-Nelson method, and determined as glucose eqv. made/mg of amylase x h giving the hydrolysis velocity. The data were plotted according to the Michaelis-Menten and Lineweaver-Burk equations. From these equations Vmax and Km can easily be calculated.
  • Laundry washing
  • Detergent: Commercial European heavy duty liquid compact detergent (HDL)
    Detergent dosage: 5 g/l
    Soil: Potato starch colored with Cibacron Blue 3GA
    Water hardness: 18°dH
    Time: 20 minutes
    pH (during wash): approx. 7.8
    Evaluation: Reflectance at 660 nm.
  • Automatic dishwashing 1) Washing conditions
  • Amylases: B. licheniformis α-amylase (SEO ID No.2) M 197T QL37
    Amylase dosage: 0 - 0.72 mg enzyme protein/I washing liquor
    Detergent: standard European-type automatic dishwashing detergent
    Detergent dosage: 4.2 g/I washing liquor
    Soil: Corn starch on plates and glasses
    Dishwashing: 55°C program, Baucknecht GS 1272
    pH: 10.3 during dishwashing
  • 2) Evaluation
  • Removal of starch film (RSF) from plates and glasses is evaluated after colouring with iodine on the following scale from 0 to 6:
    Rating Dishware Glassware
    6 clean clean
    5 spots thin
    4 thin moderate
    3 moderate heavy
    2 heavy very heavy
    1 very heavy extremely heavy
    0 blind (unwashed) blind (unwashed)
  • Mini dishwashing assay
  • A suspension of starchy material is boiled and cooled to 20°C. The cooled starch suspension is applied on small, individually identified glass plates (approx. 2 x 2 cm) and dried at a temperature in the range of 60-140°C in a drying cabinet. The individual plates are then weighed. For assay purposes, a solution of standard European-type automatic dishwashing detergent (5 g/l) having a temperature of 55°C is prepared. The detergent is allowed a dissolution time of 1 minute, after which the amylase variant in question is added to the detergent solution (contained in a beaker equipped with magnetic stirring) so as to give an enzyme concentration of 0.5 mg/ml. At the same time, the weighed glass plates, held in small supporting clamps, are immersed in a substantial vertical position in the amylase/detergent solution, which is then stirred for 15 minutes at 55°C. The glass plates are then removed from the amylase/detergent solution, rinsed with distilled water, dried at 60°C in a drying cabinet and re-weighed. The performance of the amylase variant in question [expressed as an index relative to Termamyl® (index 100)] is then determined from the difference in weight of the glass plates before and after treatment, as follows: Index = weight  loss  for  plate  treated  with  α - amylase  variant weight  loss  for  plate  treated  with  Termamyl ® · 100
    Figure imgb0003
  • EXAMPLES REFERENCE EXAMPLE 1
  • In this example the construction of DNA encoding a number of different B. licheniformis variants are described. Each variant is referred to by its amino acid modifications compared to the parent B. licheniformis α-amylase.
  • Plasmid pDN1528 (Fig. 1B) has been used for these constructions. The plasmid is a derivative of the B. subtilis plasmid pUB110 (Gryczan et al., 1978) and contains the pUB110 origin of replication, the cat gene conferring chloramphenicol resistance, and the gene encoding the B licheniformis α-amylase having the DNA sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1 (=amyL). The B. licheniformis α-amylase promoter (amyL promoter) transcribes the amyL gene.
  • Construction of amyL variant I: (1-2)*+L3V
  • The deletion of residues 1 and 2, and the substitution of leucine 3 with a valine were introduced simultaneously in amyL by PCR amplification of a fragment of DNA using the amyL gene (located on plasmid pDN1528) as a template and two oligonucleotides as primers. The 5' primer #6079 covers the region of residues 1-3 and the unique Pstl restriction site. The sequence of this primer is given in Table 1:
  • The other primer 1C (Table 1) is located 3' to the mutagenic primer and has a sequence identical to amyL.
  • PCR was carried out as 30 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
  • The amplified DNA fragment was purified and digested with restriction enzymes Pstl and Sacll. The resulting Pstl-Sacll DNA fragment was ligated with plasmid pDN1528 digested with the same unique restriction enzymes. The resulting plasmid carries a variant amyL gene with the desired mutations, and the variant protein can be expressed from this construct.
  • Construction of amyL variant II: (1-2)*+L3V+M15T
  • The substitution of methionine 15 with a threonine was carried out by overlap-extension mutagenesis (Higuchi et al., 1988) using the amyL variant ((1-2)*+L3V) as a template and the mutagenic primers #6164 and #6173 listed in Table 1. Thus, the resulting gene contains the deletion of residues 1 and 2, L3V and M15T.
  • In a PCR reaction (reaction A) a 480 bp DNA fragment was amplified by the use of two DNA primers, viz. #6164 containing the desired nucleotide alterations (Table 1) and one flanking primer, 1C. A separate PCR reaction (reaction B) amplified a 140 bp DNA fragment to the opposite site of the mutation site by the use of primer 1B and primer #6173. These PCR reactions were 25 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C. The amplified fragments from reactions A and B overlap around the mutation site and a longer fragment of DNA was amplified in a third PCR reaction C: 20 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C, by the use of only the two flanking primers, 1B and 1C. Reaction C DNA was digested with Pstl and Sacll restriction endoneucleases, and the resulting 360 bp Pstl-Sacll DNA fragment was subcloned into plasmid pDN1528, digested with the same unique restriction enzymes.
  • Construction of amyL variant III: (1-2)*+ L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H351 A) By site-specific mutagenesis
  • In the DNA sequence encoding the amyL variant II ((1-2)*+L3V+M15T) constructed as described above, the following amino acid substitutions were introduced simultaneously: R23K, S29A, A30E, Y31H, A33S, E34D, and H351 by the overlap extension method as previously described.
  • Primers 1C and Reg 1A were used in reaction A, and primers 1B and Reg 1B were used in reaction B. The conditions for the PCR reactions were identical to those described above, and a PCR reaction C was carried out in a similar way. All the mutations were cloned on the 360 bp Pstl-Sacll fragment into pDN1528 as mentioned above.
  • This amyL variant may be prepared by the following alternative method:
  • B) Preparation of amyL variant III by α-amylase gene fusion
  • The plasmids useful for carrying out gene fusions are very similar and are all based on the Bacillus expression vector, pDN1380 (cf. Fig. 1A).
  • pDN1380 contains an origin of replication from plasmid pUB110, the maltogenic α-amylase promoter (P-beta promoter) described by Diderichsen and Christiansen (1988) located in front of a polylinker, and the cat gene encoding chloramphenicol acetyl transferase from the cloning vector pC194 (see, e.g., Erlich, 1977).
  • Amylase encoding genes should be cloned in pDN1380 in such a way that the amylase gene is transcribed from the P-beta promoter. A resulting plasmid pDN1681 containing the B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase gene having the DNA sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 3 (amyQ), a plasmid pDN1750 containing the B. stearothermophilus α-amylase gene having the DNA sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 5 (amyS) and a plasmid pDN1700 containing the B. licheniformis α-amylase gene having the DNA sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1 (amyL) may be obtained.
  • Primers:
  • pUB110ori: 5' CACTTCAACGCACCTTTCAGC 3'
    cat1: 5' CATGGACTTCATTTACTGGG 3'
    QA: 5' CACTGCCGTCTGGATTCCCC 3'
    QB: 5' GGGAATCCAGACGGCAGTG 3'
    SA: 5' GAATTCAATCAAAAAGGGACGGTTCGG 3'
    SB: 5' CCGTCCCTTTTTGATTGAATTCGCC 3'
  • The amylase gene fusions may be constructed by the PCR overlap-extension method as described by Higuchi et al. 1988.
  • The polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) may be used to amplify the fragment of pDN1681 (5'-end of the amyQ) located between primer QB and pUB110ori (reaction A). In a separate PCR (reaction B), the 3'-end of amyL may be amplified as the fragment between primer QA and primer cat1 in plasmid pDN1700. The two purified fragments may be used in a third PCR (reaction C) in the presence of the primers flanking the total region, i.e. pUB110ori and cat1.
  • The fragment amplified in the third reaction may be purified, digested with restriction endonucleases EcoRl and Sphl and ligated with the 2.6 kb fragment obtained from plasmid pDN1380 by a digestion with restriction endonucleases EcoRl and Sphl. A protease- and amylase-weak B. subtilis strain (e.g. strain SHA273 mentioned in WO 92/11357 ) may be transformed with the ligated plasmids, starch degrading transformants may be selected on starch-containing agarose plates and the amplified DNA sequence may be verified.
  • Polymerase Chain Reactions may be carried out under standard conditions, as described by Higuchi et al. 1988.
  • Reaction A and B are 15 cycles of (60 seconds at 94°C, 60 seconds at 45°C, and 90 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C. Reaction C is 15 cycles of (60 seconds at 94°C, 60 seconds at 50°C. and 90 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
  • The amino acid sequence in the mature protein from the construct described in Example B) is identical to the sequence of the mature protein from Example A), but the DNA sequences are different in the 5' end of the genes. Furthermore, the construct in Example A) has the amyL signal sequence whereas the construct B) has the signal sequence of the B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase.
  • REFERENCE EXAMPLE 2
  • The amyL variant III prepared as described in A) or B) in Example 1 above and the site-specific mutation M197T were combined by subcloning a Kpnl-Sall fragment containing M197T into the DNA sequence encoding amyL variant III ((1-2)*+L3V+M15T +R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H35l) described above.
  • Kpnl and Sall are unique restriction sites found in the B. licheniformis α-amylase encoding sequence and the Kpnl-Sall fragment constitutes a 534bp fragment containing the M197T mutation prepared by Nelson and Long mutagenesis as described in WO 94/02597 . The same sites, Kpnl and Sall, are also unique in the B. licheniformis α-amylase variant III described above and therefore the 534 bp fragment can be cloned directly into the vector fragment Kpnl/Sall obtained from amyL variant III. The resulting DNA encodes amyL variant III with the additional mutation M197T.
  • In an alternative method, the M197T mutation may be introduced in the B. licheniformis α-amylase encoding DNA sequence SEQ ID No. 1 by the method described by Nelson and Long (1981) and further exemplified in WO 94/02597 with the following sequences of the mutagenic primer
    Figure imgb0004
    where the underlined nucleotide introduce the mutation M197T.
  • EXAMPLE 3
  • A number of other mutations were introduced in the DNA sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 1 encoding the B. licheniformis α-amylase by similar methods, using the oligonucleotides listed in Table 1 below. Combinations of mutations were done by subcloning, if possible, or by mutagenesis carried out on a Termamyl® variant template.
  • E255P was constructed by the method described by Higuchi et al., 1988: template: amyL in pDN1528.
    • PCR A: primers E255P,A and 2C. Standard conditions: 25 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    • PCR B: primers E255P,B and 2B. Standard conditions.
    • PCR C: standard C reaction: 20 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    The mutation was subcloned as a 330 bp Kpnl-BssHll fragment into pDN1528.
  • T341 P was constructed similarly to amyL variant I. One PCR reaction was carried out on amyL variant III by the use of primers T341P and 3C. A 210 bp Sall-Tth111I fragment was subcloned into pDN1528.
  • S373P was constructed by the method described by Higuchi et al., 1988: template: amyL in pDN1528.
    • PCR A: primers S373P,A and 3C. Standard conditions: 25 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    • PCR B: primers S373,B and 3B. Standard conditions.
    • PCR C: standard C reaction: 20 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    The mutation was subcloned as a 210 bp Sall-Tth111l fragment into pDN1528.
  • Q374P was constructed by the method described by Higuchi et al., 1988: template: amyL in pDN1528.
    • PCR A: primers Q374P,A and 3C. Standard conditions: 25 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C. 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    • PCR B: primers Q374P,B and 3B. Standard conditions.
    • PCR C: standard C reaction: 20 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    The mutation was subcloned as a 210 bp Sall-Tth111l fragment into pDN1528.
  • S148N was constructed by the method described by Higuchi et al., 1988: template: amyL in pDN1528.
    • PCR A: primers S148N,A and 2C. Standard conditions: 25 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    • PCR B: primers S148N,B and 1B. Standard conditions as above
    • PCR C: standard C reaction: 20 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    The mutation was subcloned as a 120 bp Kpnl-Sacll fragment into pDN1528.
  • L230I,V233A was constructed by the method described by Higuchi et al., 1988: template: amyL in pDN1528.
    • PCR A: primers L230I+V233A, A and 2C. Standard conditions: 25 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    • PCR B: primers L230I+V233A, B and 2B. Standard conditions as above.
    • PCR C: standard C reaction: 20 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C. and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    The mutation was subcloned as a 330 bp Kpnl-BssHll fragment into pDN1528.
  • A209V was constructed by the method described by Higuchi et al., 1988: template: amyL in pDN1528.
    • PCR A: primers A209V,A and 2C. Conditions: 25 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    • PCR B: primers A209V,B and 1B. Conditions: 25 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    • PCR C: standard C reaction with only flanking primers: 20 cycles of (30 seconds at 94°C, 30 seconds at 50°C, and 60 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C.
    The mutation was subcloned as a 330 bp Kpnl-BssHll fragment into pDN1528. Table 1
  • The following primers have been used for the construction of various variants described above. The 3' end of these primers have identical sequence to parts of pDN1528, and they have all a melting temperature above 50°C.
    • 1B: Corresponds to amino acids: (-20) - (-13), i.e. signal sequence.
      Figure imgb0005
    • 2B: Corresponds to amino acids: 149-155.
      Figure imgb0006
    • 3B: Corresponds to amino acids: 320-326
      Figure imgb0007
    • 1C: Corresponds to amino acids: 167-161.
      Figure imgb0008
    • 2C: Corresponds to amino acids: 345-339.
      Figure imgb0009
    • 3C (=pUB110ori): Anneals 3' to amyL.
      Figure imgb0010
    • (1-2)*+L3V
      Figure imgb0011
    • M15T
      Figure imgb0012
      Figure imgb0013
    • amyL variant III: (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+ E34D+H351
      Figure imgb0014
      Figure imgb0015
    • E255P
      Figure imgb0016
      Figure imgb0017
    • T341P
      Figure imgb0018
    • S373P
      Figure imgb0019
      Figure imgb0020
    • Q374P
      Figure imgb0021
      Figure imgb0022
    • S148N
      Figure imgb0023
      Figure imgb0024
    • L230I,V233A
      Figure imgb0025
      Figure imgb0026
    • A209V
      Figure imgb0027
      Figure imgb0028
    REFERENCE EXAMPLE 4 Preparation of the hybrid α-amylase SL68 by DNA fusion
  • The plasmid used is constructed in a simitar way as described for amyL variant III Example 1B) above, except that:
    • 1) reaction A contains plasmid pDN1750, primer SB and primer pUB110ori,
    • 2) reaction B contains plasmid pDN1700, primer SA and primer cat1.
    • 3) reaction A and reaction B are 15 cycles of (60 seconds at 93°C, 60 seconds at 50°C, and 90 seconds at 73°C) followed by 600 seconds at 73°C. Reaction C is as mentioned above (see Example 1B)).
    • 4) The purified fragment from PCR C is digested consecutively with Sphl and partially with EcoRl and the purified 3.3 kb fragment is subcloned into pDN1380 digested to completion with the same restriction endonucleases.
  • Restriction endonuclease digestion, purification of DNA fragments, ligation, transformation of B. subtilis, and DNA sequencing are performed in accordance with well-known techniques. Transformation of B. subtilis was performed as described by Dubnau et al. (1971).
  • EXAMPLE 5 Fermentation and purification of α-amylase variants
  • The α-amylase variants encoded by the DNA sequences constructed as described in Examples 1-4 above are produced as follows:
  • The B. subtilis strain harbouring the expression plasmid is streaked on a LB-agar plate with 25 mg/ml chloramphenicol from -80°C stock, and grown overnight at 37°C.
  • The colonies are transferred to 100ml BPX media supplemented with 25 mg/ml chloramphenicol in a 500 ml shaking flask. Composition of BPX medium:
    Potato starch 100 g/l
    Barley flour 50 g/l
    BAN 5000 SKB 0.1 g/l
    Sodium caseinate 10 g/l
    Soy Bean Meal 20 g/l
    Na2HPO4, 12 H2O 9 g/l
    Pluronic™ 0.1 g/l
  • The culture is shaken at 37°C at 270 rpm for 5 days.
  • 100-200 ml of the fermentation broth are filtered using a pressure filter with filter aid. After filtration the amylase is precipitated using 80% saturated ammonium sulfate. The precipitate is washed and solubilized and desalted using an Amicon ultrafiltration unit and 25mM Tris pH 5.6. The desalted sample is subjected to an ion exchange using S-sepharose F.F.. The amylase Is eluted using a linear gradient of NaCl from 0 to 200mM. The eluate is desalted using an Amicon unit and applied on a Q-sepharosa F.F. at pH 9 in a 25mM Tris buffer. The elution of the amylase is performed using a gradient of 0-200mM NaCl.
  • REFERENCE EXAMPLE 6
  • Properties of the amyL variant III and amyL variant III + M197T constructed as described in Examples 1 and 2 respectively, were compared.
  • Determination of oxidation stability
  • Raw filtered culture broths with amyL variant III and amyL variant III + M197T were diluted to an amylase activity of 100 NU/ml (determined by the α-amylase activity assay described in the Materials and Methods section above) in 50 mM of a Britton-Robinson buffer at pH 9.0 and incubated at 40°C. Subsequently H2O2 was added to a concentration of 200 mM, and the pH value was re-adjusted to 9.0. The activity was measured after 15 seconds and after 5, 15, and 30 minutes. The amyL variant III + M197T mutant was found to exhibit an improved resistance towards 200 mM H2O2, pH 9.0 compared to amyL variant III.
  • Specific activity
  • The specific activity of Termamyl®, the amyL variant III and the amyL variant III + M197T was determined as described in the Materials and Methods section above. It was found that the specific activity of amyL variant III + M197T was improved by 20% compared to that of amyL variant III. amyL variant III was found to exhibit a 40% higher specific activity compared to Termamyl®.
  • Furthermore, the specific acitivity was determined as a function of temperature and pH, respectively. From Figs. 7 and 8 it is apparent that the amyL variant III + M197T has increased specific activity compared to the parent enzyme (Termamyl®) in the range from pH 4.5 to pH 9.0. Furthermore, the temperature profile has been displaced 10°C downwards at pH 9. Even though the activity at pH 10.1 is reduced compared to Termamyl®, the performance of amyL variant III in ADD (automatic dishwashing detergent) at 45°C is highly improved (Fig. 9). This is probably due to the downwards displacement of the temperature profile.
  • pH/activity profile
  • of amyL variant III and amyL variant III + M197T was determined as described in the Materials and Methods section above, the only difference being that the incubation was performed at 60°C and at the relevant pH values. The results are apparent from Fig. 5, in which the activity is given as activity per mg enzyme.
  • Determination of storage stability
  • The storage stability of α-amylase variant amyL variant III + M197T was determined by adding the variant and its parent α-amylase, respectively, to the detergent in an amount corresonding to a dosage of 0.5 mg enzyme protein per litre of washing liquor (3 litres in the main wash) together with 12 g of detergent in each wash (1.5 mg enzyme protein). The mixtures were stored at 30°C/60% relative humidity (r.h.) for 0, 1, 2. 3, 4, and 6 weeks. After storage the analytical activity of the samples were determined as well as the performance. The performance was tested by using the whole content of each storage glass (containing enzyme and detergent) in each wash. The soil was com starch on plates and glasses, and the dishwashing was carried out at 55°C. using a Cylinda 770 machine. The storage stability is illustrated in Figs. 10 and 11. amyL variant III + M197T was significantly more stable than its parent enzyme.
  • REFERENCE EXAMPLE 7 Automatic dishwashing
  • The dishwashing performance of α-amylase variants of the invention compared to that of their parent α-amylase was evaluated in an automatic dishwashing test.
  • The α-amylase variants were the amyL variant III, the preparation of which is described in Example 1 above, and the α-amylase variant M197T (prepared by replacing the methionine residue located in position 197 of the B. licheniformis α-amylase (SEQ ID No. 2)) with a threonine residue as described in WO 94/02597 ).
  • The automatic dishwashing test was performed as described in the Materials and Methods section above.
  • The results obtained are presented in Fig. 2, from which it is apparent that the amyL variant III and the α-amylase mutant M197T show a substantially improved starch removal, and thus dishwashing performance, relative to that of the the parent α-amylase.
  • REFERENCE EXAMPLE 8 Laundry washing
  • The washing performance of the amyL variant III prepared as described in Example 1 and its parent α-amylase was determined under the conditions described in the Material and Methods section above using the following amylase dosages: 0/0.21/0.43/0-86 mg enzyme protein/l.
  • The results obtained are apparent from Fig. 4. The delta reflectance shown In this figure has been calculated from the reflectance obtained for a swatch having been washed with the relevant enzyme and the reflectance obtained for a swatch washed without enzyme. More specifically, the delta reflectance is the reflectance obtained with enzyme minus the reflectance obtained without enzyme.
  • From Fig. 4 it is evident that the α-amylase variant of the invention exerts a considerably improved starch removal relative to the parent α-amylase, in other words that the α-amylase variant has an improved washing performance compared to that of the parent α-amylase.
  • EXAMPLE 9
  • The dishwashing performance of a number of the B. licheniformis α-amylase variants described in Examples 1-5 was assayed in the mini dishwashing assay described in the Materials and Methods section above.
  • Some of the variants were tested on different days and, thus, the results obtained for the various α-amylase variants are not directly comparable. However, each variant has been tested against the parent α-amylase and the performance index relative to the parent α-amylase (Termamyl®, index 100) is thus experimentally verified.
  • it is evident that all variants have an improved dishwashing performance (as measured by their ability to remove starchy stains) as compared to their parent α-amylase.
    B. licheniformis amylase variants Index
    Termamyl® 100
    E255P 135
    T341P 120
    S373P 125
    Q374P 126
    (1-2)*+L3V 117
    S148N 112
    M15T 115
    L230I+V233A 112
    A209V 118
    S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H35l 100
    Combinations
    T341P+Q374P 117
    (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H35l 140
    (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H35l + E255P 156
    (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H35l+ M197T 124
    (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H35l+ E255P + Q374P 143
    (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H351+ E255P+Q374P+T341P 127
    (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H351+ E255P+M197l 141
    (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H351+ E255P + M197N 124
    (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H351+ E255P+M197S 113
    (1-2)*+L3V+M15T+R23K+S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H35l+ E255P+M197T 71
  • EXAMPLE 10
  • The washing performance of a number of the B. licheniformis α-amylase variants described in Examples 1 - 5 was tested by means of the laundry washing assay described in the Materials and Methods section above, using the different commercially available detergents mentioned in the tables below.
  • The IX (dR at c=0.5) is the index (expressed as percentage) obtained by dividing the delta reflectance (see Example 8) for a swatch washed with 0.5 mg/l of the α-amylase variant in question by the delta reflectance for a swatch washed with 0.5 mg/l of Termamyl®. dR at c=0.2 and dR at c=0.1 are the corresponding index (IX) values for enzyme concentrations of 0.2 and 0.1 mg/l, respectively.
  • It is evident that all variants have an improved washing performance (as measured by their ability to remove starchy stains) relative to their parent α-amylase.
    5 g/l Ariel Ultra Liquid
    No presoak, 40°C, 20 minutes, pH 7
    Enzyme lX (dR at c=0.5)
    Termamyl® 100
    amyL var. III+ M197T 140
    S29A+A30E+Y31 H+A33S+E34D+H35l 103
    E458D+P459T+V461K+N463G+E465D 100
    R242P 106
    E255P 133
    M15T 101
    2 g/l Tide with Bleach Feb 92
    No presoak, 40°C, 15 minutes, pH 10
    Enzyme IX (dR at c=0.2)
    Termamyl® 100
    S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H35I 103
    E458D+P459T+V461K+N463G+E465D 122
    R242P 112
    E255P 109
    T341P 108
    H450Y 109
    Q374P 111
    M15T 120
    3 g/l of Bleach containing Commercial South American HDP DF-931001.1 16 hours presoak, 30°C, 15 minutes, pH 10
    Enzyme IX (dR at c=0.1)
    Termamyl® 100
    amyL var. III + M197T 103
    amyL var. III + M197L 111
    S29A+A30E+Y31H+A33S+E34D+H351 114
    E458D+P459T+V461 K+N463G+E465D 109
    R242P 117
    E255P 134
    T341P 116
    H450Y 106
    Q374P 113
    M15T 117
    H68Q 115
  • REFERENCE EXAMPLE 11 Determination of Vmax, Km and V
  • Km and Vmax of the α-amylases comprising the amino acid sequences SEQ ID Nos. 2, 4 and 6, respectively, and the α-amylase variant III and the hybrid α-amylase SL68 described in Examples 1 - 4, respectively, were determined as described in the Materials and Methods section above.
  • The following Vmax and Km values were obtained:
    V max mg   glucose   eqv . mg   enzyme × h
    Figure imgb0029
    Km mg starch/ml
    SEQ ID No. 6 45.0 1.47
    SEQ ID No. 4 11.5 1.28
    SEQ ID No. 2 6.4 0.18-0.25
    amyL variant III 8.0 0.18-0.25
    SL68 7.3 0.18-0.25
  • The hydrolysis velocity obtained for each of the enzymes may at low substrate concentrations be determined on the basis of the Michaelis-Menten equation V = V max × S / S + Km
    Figure imgb0030

    which, when [S] << Km may be reduced to V= Vmax x [S]/Km.
  • From this equation it is apparent that a higher hydrolysis velocity (V) may be obtained when Km is reduced and/or Vmax is increased.
  • During washing it is reasonable to assume that the substrate concentration is considerable lower than Km and accordingly, based on the above stated values for Km and Vmax, it is possible to determine the hydrolysis velocity of each of the variants listed above. The following values are be found:
    [S] V, SEQ ID 2 V, amyL III V, SL68
    0.3 4.0 5 4.6
    0.1 2.2 3 2.6
    0.05 1.3 1.9 1.6
  • From the above table it is evident that the hydrolysis velocity of amyL variant III is higher than that of SL68, which again is higher than that of the B. licheniformis α-amylase having the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2 (the parent enzyme).
  • REFERENCES CITED IN THE SPECIFICATION
    • Suzuki et al., the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 264, No. 32, Issue of November 15, pp. 18933-18938 (1989).
    • B. Diderichsen and L. Christiansen, Cloning of a maltogenic α-amylase from Bacillus stearothermophilus, FEMS Microbiol. letters: 56: pp. 53-60 (1988).
    • Hudson et al., Practical Immunology, Third edition (1989), Blackwell Scientific Publications.
    • Lipman and Pearson (1985) Science 227, 1435.
    • Sambrook et al., Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd Ed., Cold Spring Harbor, 1989.
    • S.L. Beaucage and M.H. Caruthers, Tetrahedron Letters 22, 1981, pp. 1859-1869.
    • Matthes et al., The EMBO J. 3, 1984, pp. 801-805.
    • R.K. Saiki et al., Science 239, 1988, pp. 487-491.
    • Morinaga et al., 1984, Biotechnology 2, pp. 646-639.
    • Nelson and Long, Analytical Biochemistry 180, 1989, pp. 147-151.
    • Hunkapiller et al., 1984, Nature 310, pp. 105-111.
    • R. Higuchi, B. Krummel, and R.K. Saiki (1988). A general method of in vitro preparation and specific mutagenesis of DNA fragments: study of protein and DNA interactions. Nucl. Acids Res. 16, pp. 7351-7367.
    • Dubnau et al., 1971, J. Mol. Biol. 56, pp. 209-221.
    • Gryczan et al., 1978, J. Bacteriol. 134, pp. 318-329.
    • S.D. Erlich, 1977, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 74, pp. 1680-1682.
    • Boel et al., 1990, Biochemistry 29, pp. 6244-6249.
    SEQUENCE LISTING
  • In the following SEQ ID Nos. 1, 3, 5 the 5', coding sequence and 3' sequence of the relevant α-amylase genes are illustrated. The 5' sequence is the first separate part of the sequence written with lower case letters, the coding sequence is the intermediate part of the sequence, where the signal sequence is written with lower case letters and the sequence encoding the mature α-amylase is written with upper case letters, and the 3' sequence is the third separate part of the sequence written with lower case letters.
    Figure imgb0031
    Figure imgb0032
    Figure imgb0033
    Figure imgb0034
    Figure imgb0035
    Figure imgb0036

Claims (20)

  1. A variant of a parent α-amylase enzyme, wherein the parent α-amylase enzyme is the B. licheniformis α-amylase having the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2 or an analogue of said α-amylase having a degree of sequence identity of greater than 70% with the sequence shown in SEQ ID No. 2, the variant comprising the sequence of the parent α-amylase enzyme except for one modification of amino acid residue E255 and wherein the variant possesses an improved ability to remove starchy stains as compared to the B. licheniformis α-amylase having the amino acid sequence shown in SEQ ID NO:2 as determined by a test that comprises -
    i) boiling a suspension of starchy material and cooling it to 20°C,
    ii) applying the cooled starch suspension to a glass plate and drying the starch in a drying cabinet in the range of 60-140°C,
    iii) weighing the individual plates,
    iv) preparing a solution of standard European-type automatic dishwashing detergent (5g/l) having a temperature of 55°C,
    v) allowing the detergent solution a dissolution time of 1 minute, after which the amylase variant in question is added to the detergent solution, contained in a beaker equipped with magnetic stirring, so as to give an enzyme concentration of 0.5 mg/ml,
    vi) at the same time, immersing the weighed glass plates in a substantially vertical position in the amylase/detergent solution, which is then stirred for 15 minutes at 55°C,
    vii) removing the glass plates from the amylase/detergent solution, rinsing with distilled water, drying at 60°C in a drying cabinet and re-weighing,
    viii) wherein the performance of the amylase variant in question, expressed as an index relative to the performance of the protein of SEQ ID NO:2 (index 100) is determined from the difference in weight of the glass plates before and after treatment, as follows: Index = weight loss f o r plate treated with α - amylase var i a nt weight loss f o r plate treated with α - amylase o f S E Q I D N O : 2 100
    Figure imgb0037
  2. The variant according to claim 1, which comprises the mutation E255P.
  3. A DNA construct comprising a DNA sequence encoding an α-amylase variant according to claims 1 or 2.
  4. A recombinant expression vector which carries a DNA construct according to claim 3.
  5. A cell which is transformed with a DNA construct according to claim 3 or a vector according to claim 4.
  6. The cell according to claim 5, which is a microorganism.
  7. The cell according to claim 6, which is a bacterium or a fungus.
  8. The cell according to claim 7, which is a Gram-positive bacterium such as Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, Bacillus lentus, Bacillus brevis, Bacillus stearothermophilus, Bacillus alkalophilus, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, Bacillus coagulans, Bacillus circulans, Bacillus lautus, Bacillus thuringiensis or Streptomyces lividans or Streptomyces murinus, or a Gram-negative bacterium such as E.coli.
  9. A method of producing an α-amylase variant according to claims 1 or 2, wherein a cell according to any of claims 5-8 is cultured under conditions conducive to the production of the α-amylase variant, and the α-amylase variant is subsequently recovered from the culture.
  10. Use of an α-amylase variant according to claims 1 or 2 for washing and/or dishwashing.
  11. A detergent additive comprising an α-amylase variant according to claims 1 or 2, optionally in the form of a non-dusting granulate, stabilised liquid or protected enzyme.
  12. The detergent additive according to claim 11 which contains 0.02-200 mg of enzyme protein/g of the additive.
  13. The detergent additive according to claim 11 or 12, which additionally comprises another enzyme such as a protease, a lipase, a peroxidase, another amylolytic enzyme and/or a cellulase.
  14. A detergent composition comprising an α-amylase variant according to claims 1 or 2.
  15. The detergent composition according to claim 14 which additionally comprises another enzyme such as a protease, a lipase, a peroxidase, another amylolytic enzyme and/or a cellulase.
  16. A manual or automatic dishwashing detergent composition comprising an α-amylase variant according to claims 1 or 2.
  17. The dishwashing detergent composition according to claim 16 which additionally comprises another enzyme such as a protease, a lipase, a peroxidase, another amylolytic enzyme and/or a cellulase.
  18. A manual or automatic laundry washing composition comprising an α-amylase variant according to claims 1 or 2.
  19. The laundry washing composition according to claim 18 which additionally comprises another enzyme such as a protease, a lipase, a peroxidase, an amylolytic enzyme and/or a cellulase.
  20. Use of an α-amylase variant according to claims 1 or 2 for textile desizing.
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